tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC May 31, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
their lives are changed forever. the folks who work in that building, their lives are changed. i have a number of officers right now who are processing through what best could be described as a war zone, their lives are going to be changed. thank you. >> thank you. >> could i ask a quick question. >> that's the virginia beach police chief giving an update on horrific mass shooting that took place today in virginia beach. there was an update on the death toll at the top of this press conference. the death toll had previously been 11. chief now saying that the death toll has risen to 12 because one of the victims who was injured succumbed to his or her injuries on the way to the hospital. they have not released identifying information on any of the victims yet. they say they're still identifying victims and notifying the families. in terms of the shooter, the shooter is dead. the police chief said pointedly that they know the identity of
the suspect. nbc news has also learned the identity of the suspect from a federal law enforcement source but the police chief says that once they are ready to release formally name for virginia beach, he said they will mention it once and once only. he also described what he said was a long moving running gun battle between four police officers and the gunman than ultimately resulted in the gunman being shot and killed. he said police officers rendered first aid to the gunman after they had shot him. but he nevertheless died from his wounds. at this point there are four people injured and in hospital and again, 12 people victims of the shooting in virginia beach. in terms of the gun, he wouldn't answer detailed questions in terms of whether there were multiple guns but he did describe a .45 caliber handgun which he said was fitted with a silencer, and he described magazines at the scene.
weigh expect we'll get more information from local authorities. that's the latest from virginia beach. we'll see you again on monday. now it's time for last word with ali velshi sitting in for lawrence tonight. >> not a happy night to have to deliver this news. have a good rest of your weekend. >> i'm ari velshi. >> we begin with the breaking news in virginia beach where another tragic mass shooting has left at least 12 people now dead. >> we are in the process of identifying the victims and making notification to their families. i can tell you that we do have an additional victim to report. we now have 12, one victim succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital. we also have four additional victims being treated at area hospitals. and we have reports that others may have self-transported. >> the terror unfold this had afternoon when a city worker entered a municipal building and
began firing at coworkers indiscriminately. the rampage continued over multiple floors as police quickly rushed to the scene. shooter was killed while exchanging gunfire with police in what the police chief described as a long-term gun battle. at least five people were injured and rushed to the hospital including one police officer who was treated for his injuries. authorities say his life was saved hanks to his bulletproof vest. according to the police chief, the gunman was a current and long-time virginia beach department of public utilities employee. but police declined to comment about a possible motive for the shooting. witnesses described frantically running down stair wells or running behind decks to escape the barrage of buts. listen how some witnesses describe the horrific scene. >> we heard shooting. we heard shooting but we didn't think it was that is close like in proximity of the building. so i just thank god that they
were able to alert us in time. >> there was a lady on the stair unconscious, blood on the stairway, we didn't know what happened she came back down saying get out of the building. >> we just heard people yelling and screaming to get down. >> i just, i don't know what kind of person would do something like that. >> neither the shooter nor the victims' idaho its have been released. in the words of the mayor, this is most devastating day in the history of virginia beach. joining me now lisa andrews waiting for her daughter nearby when the shooting occurred. you took a photograph we are going to put up on our air in which you see a man with a policeman with a hand on his shoulder. this man has got blood all over his shirt. tell us what this was. >> i was in the car with my 1-year-old grandson looking at all this go by, and i saw an
officer run with this gentleman and they stood in front of my car. and i didn't know what happened to him. but i opened the door and i said, can i help you? i'm an rn. and the officer said no, get back in your car. so i'm not sure. >> what did you subsequently learn had happened? >> i don't know if he was one of the ones that got shot or not. someone had said it was. so i don't know. i pray that he's okay. >> this is a remarkable tragedy for any community of any size. but virginia beach is not a big place. to have 12 people now the police chief saying 12 people succumb to their injuries, four in surgery right now. what's the sense of people you've talked to around there? >> it's unimaginable. you just can't believe somebody
would do such a thing. you know? innocent people. we were right in the middle and i just, you know, i couldn't believe what was going on when it went on. it's just terrible. >> and this is a applicable. this is a place somebody would go to get their building permits or things that you'd need to engage with the municipality of virginia beach. so this wasn't a place that anybody could have been there anybody. not like the courthouse where you have to get collected in. anybody can walk right in. people with kids were there. i don't even know if they're one of the fatalities. hopefully not. but we were right in the middle of it. my 1-year-old grandson, thank god, we were safe. and my daughter was in building 1. >> i always wonder the police chief said we have to keep in mind as we report these things and we always talk about who the
perpetrator was but that the victims, families of the victims their lives have been changed forever. 12 people have lost their lives. all of those first responders their lives are changed. really everybody in your community's lives have been changed because now virginia beach enters the annals of history in the way you didn't want to be. >> absolutely, absolutely. it's a sad thing and virginia beach is such a beautiful place. you don't want that to happen anywhere. >> how do you feel hours after this? you were right there. you know how close you were and your grandson was to this. how do you -- what does the passage of time make you think? >> my heart is still beating out of my chest right now. i was just terrified. finally s.w.a.t. was running by and the police officers were right there. i commend them for what they did and their you know, speediness to get there. but they told us, meese -- told
me to get my grandson and get out of the car and run to the next building you know when everything went down. so. >> it's remarkable that you say that because you're an rn. you're a nurse. you're not squeamish. you dent don't get an alarmed by the sight of blood and you thought what can i do to help. it's hard to express how helpless everybody feels in a situation like there. >> absolutely, absolutely. it's devastating. and i don't know if i'll sleep tonight. >> i wouldn't blame you if you didn't. elise sass andrews was an eyewitness to the virginia beach mass murder. she took the picture that you'll see tonight that we just had on the screen. we'll show you one more time. it is a man who is in front. she pulled up her car and this man within blood all over his shirt was standing in front of her. i don't think you will sleep tonight but i hope you do.
jim kavanaugh and i have an unusual relationship because the only time he and i ever talk is when something like this has happened. we talk a lot, jim. we talk, you and i spend a lot of time together analyzing, understanding trying to figure out why this happens over and over and over again. uniquely in america. >> yeah, well, it's weak kneed leadership in washington. the votes ares will change it, ali, we hope. what strikes so many details had this press conference to talk about, but from the witness you just interviewed alisa there, you know, their lives are changed. well, the killer, the loser killer, that's what he wans to do. that's his goal. mass murder, agony, he wants misery. he wants to die. that's what he's trying to do. he comes in there and listening to what the police chief said, he had a .45 caliber handgun with extended magazines and a
silencer. one of the witnesses said we haired the shots but we didn't think they were close. >> right. >> well, the reason. >> that's the silencer. >> that's the silencer. he could have been in the next room. you sigh he's got that silencer, extended magazines and going through and massacring all the people. the chief said it was an extended gun battle with his detectives and officers. this guy is loading the magazines into the pistol. when you're shooting with a silencer, you don't get the loud bang. a .45 will recoil your pistol back so you cannot get the sight on target quite as quick. when you put the silencer on there, it's much quieter. it's much better for shooter and, of course, people can't hear you coming. it's a devastating case. >> you don't know where to hide and a .45, is a large caliber bullet that does go through
little things. if you're hiding behind something that's thin, behind a drywall wall and somebody shoots through it, you'll get hit and could get killed. >> of exactly. it has knockdown power. the .45 was a military round. they used it in the early war, world war i, knocked the enemy back from the trenches. they complained about the many 38s and a lot of different early wars where these were tested. they wanted something to knock the soldiers back, the enemy soldiers that could stop them and a .45 had a lot of stopping power. so the military needed. but and it's a weapon when in the proper hands for shooters and sportsmen, it's good. when it gets out there in the hands of these guys like this this guy that has a problem, he wants to kill everybody he works with, this is just not a guy going home and getting gun. that's the point we should make america look at. he didn't pull a gun out of his dresser drawer that was there for 20 years. this guy went some kind of gun
he made sure he could kill a lot of people with. large caliber, extended magazines and the silencer. there's a lot of purpose and reason in that, determination for mass killings. >> in the time that you've been covering this and the time that you're a veteran of the atf, special agent in charge and the time i've been a journalist, the way police respond to these things has changed dramatically. it's not thought of as a hostage situation, not thought of as setting up a perimeter. these police officers who train for this stuff but it's virginia beach. they're not teal dealing with this stuff all the time, went in and engaged in what the police chief called a long-term running gun battle. cops don't use that kind of language easily. >> that's right. total heroes, total heros going in there, facing this guy down. they know he's got something large and he's spitting all all those rounds real fast. they know it's silence once they engage him and they know he's got advantages.
yes, total heros, absolutely. >> they're herosen at lives of those families, those police officers and the lives of those 12 people who have lost their lives and the four in surgery right now are changed forever. jim, thank you for joining us tonight. coming up, we've got a lot of other news today. attorney general robert barr muddied the waters about robert mueller's report and the reason for not accusing the president. that's next. r not accusing the t that's next. let's do the eyebrows first, just tease it a little. slather it all over, don't hold back. well, the squirrels followed me all the way out to california! and there's a very strange badger staring at me... no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. uh-huh, where's the camel? "mr. big shot's" got his own trailer. ♪ wheeeeeee! believe it! geico could save you 15% or more on car insurance. and relief from symptoms caused feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin
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donald trump's attorney general william barr now appears to have undermined his own explanation for how and why he cleared donald trump of obstruction of justice after the mueller report. here's what he said in a new interview with cbs news. >> we didn't agree with the legal analysis. a lot of the legal analysis in the report. it did not reflect the views of the department. it was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers. and so we applied what we thought was the right law. >> we didn't agree with a lot of the legal analysis of the mueller report so we applied what we thought was the right law. that's what william barr, your attorney general says now but that's not what william barr told the senate the judiciary committee on may 1st. >> we took each of the ten episodes and we assessed them against the analytical framework
that had been set forth by the special counsel and we concluded that the evidence developed during the special counsel's investigation was not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. >> now, this distinction is important. because robert mueller publicly said that he would have cleared the president of obstruction if he could, but he could not. william barr then cleared the president based on what he said is the analysis presented by the mueller report. until today when barr said he didn't agree with the analysis in the mueller report. barr was also asked about his investigation of the fbi's surveillance of the trump presidential campaign. >> what have you seen? what evidence, what makes you think i need to take a look at this. >> like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities i had a lot of questions about what was going on. i assumed i would get answers when i went in and i have not gotten the answers that were at
all satisfactory and in fact have probably more questions and that some of the facts that i've learned don't hang together with the official explanations of what happened. >> what do you mean by that? >> that's all i really will say. things are just not jibing. >> things are just not jiving 37 if you didn't hear william barr present any facts just then to support that politically charged investigation, that's because he didn't present any. william barr probably didn't lessen the perception that he's politically motivated when he said this. >> i think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it's president trump that's shredding our institutions. i really see no evidence of that. from my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on grounds that we have to stop this president that's where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.
>> all right. starting off our discussion tonight, mikaio eoyang, the vice president of the national security program a third way and matt miller, former spokesperson for attorney general eric holder and an msnbc contributor. thank you to you both for joining me on a friday night. matt, william bar is talking about the shredding of institutions. there are some who are concerned in his misrepresentation and what appear to be false stamms about the mueller report and the conclusions it did or didn't draw, he might be doing lasting damage to the department of justice. >> i think that's right. look, he's done incredible damage to the department in the shorten you're he's been there. that remark about the president not being the one who is the victim somehow of an investigation versus the one who is actively out ruining the reputation of law enforcement, hurting the public's faith in law enforcement, trampling on the wall that traditionally has
separate the justice department from the white house when it comes to criminal investigations, it's the kind of remark that jeff sessions wouldn't have dreamed of saying. we thought he was weak in standing up to president trump. there were a lot of things that were really kind of galling about the attorney general's presentation today. the way he continued to smear former members of the intelligence community, former members of the fbi without providing any evidence. look, he has said he has concerns. let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he does. i'm extremely doubtful that he has legitimate concerns. but let's pretend he does for a moment. he's asked the u.s. attorney to conduct an investigation. he ought to shut his mouth till that investigation is over. if there is any evidence at the end of that investigation, he can present it to the public. in between now and then it's employee inappropriate for him to come out with this mccarthyite tactic where he says i have secret evidence but won't tell what you it is but you ought to have real doubts about the behavior of the people that used to lead this department. >> mika, one wonders what you
ought to do about this. for decades we've seen presidents assuming more power than some thought the constitution intended for them to have. we hope if something is not right at the justice department that conscious congressional overnight might come into play. back in canada, we've described what bill barr is saying to congress as giving them the middle finger. >> i think that's right. you've seen real resistance from this department of justice not just against the congress but even against the judicial branch. today the department of justice flatout refused to obey a judicial order about releasing documents and didn't offer the judge a reason why or ask for appeal on that. we see congress saying we are going to aggressively challenge this president on oversight authorities. they're seeking to enforce their subpoenas. we've seen that being after the tracked in the courts. this is really the only way you can have congress rebalance power between the branchs from an executive who has taken too
much but saying we will not back down. we're going to enforce our powers. we're going to continue to seek the documents that we want. and we're going to hold this president accountable and we're not going to be cowed by press statements by the attorney general. if they don't do that, then you'll see a president running roughshod over them. >> matt, the judgment that mika refers to, the government's response to that carol leonnig from "the washington post" tweeted her reaction to it. i have never before seen the government tell the judge that his order for materials is not relevant. kind of amazing. >> yeah, it was a very bizarre thing for the justice department to do. look, i'm not that concerned about this one yet. i want to see how this plays out to see whether the jut department is going to trial to thumb their nose at a jubl's order or whether this is the start of a back and forth between the department and the judge. the judge did do something weird where he ordered the transcript of the calls between mike flynn and sergey kislyak.
it was a weird thing. i don't know why it was relevant for it to be made public. i would have expected the justice department to make a filing under seal kind of requesting the judge not to do that. they have legitimate reasons those ought to stay secret. for them to thumb their nose at the judge the way they did was very unusual. a bit troubling. i want to see if they continue to kind of resist. that's when i think it's time to light our hair on fire and say they're resisting a lawful order. this is not a judge who takes this kind of behavior from the department lying down. i suspect we will see a very fiery i response from emmitt sullivan. >> at least have you hair to set on fire. >> less and less. >> matt was talking about this comment by barr about the investigation into the fbi. he was asked about this a little more in na cbs interview. i want you to listen to this one with specific reference to the word treason. >> you don't think that they've
committed treason. >> not. >> that is a legal matter. >> you have concerns about hugh they conducted the investigation. >> yes, but sometimes people can convince themselves that what they're doing is in the higher interest, the better good. they don't realize that what they're doing is really antithetical to the democratic system we have. >> whether or not you believe that, mika, whether what he believes the fbi was doing as antithetical to the democratic system we have, that's not treason. he said it's not treason in a legal matter. treason is only a legal matter. it's defined by law. you can't kind of just throw that around. >> that's right. what we've seen is this attorney general for all that he's a lawyer and has been one his entire career is using a lot of words very sloppily to really question the patriotism and the integrity and the institutional objectivity of the law enforcement agencies that he leads. when he says that the president's campaign was spied upon, when he says it's a legal
matter whether or not this is treason, a matter of legal analysis this wasn't treason. it's not like they were working on behalf of a hostile foreign power to say try and obstruct an investigation into what that hostile foreign power had done. these were people who were concerned about foreign influence who were trying to get to the bottom of that. to say that that is somehow akin to treason or leave that imputation there for listener is really troubling and very sloppy use of language. >> if anybody's concerned about this, look up treason. it is very, very specific in its meaning. you have to be aiding and abetting an enemy of the united states technically speaking the united states doesn't have enemies. we haven't been at war with anybody since about world war ii. coming up, tom steyer has been using his own money to fund a campaign for impeaching donald trump long before dozens of members of congress backed it. tom steyer joins me next. s back. tom steyer joins me next on, lim?
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since robert mueller's public statements this week reiterating he could not exonerate the president of obstruction, the number of house members calling for impeachment or an impeachment inquiry has grown to 53 it, 52 democrat and one republican. my next gest has been calling for impeachment since be october of 201, long before we learned of mueller's findings. his latest message to democratic leaders. >> for over two years, this president has boeken the law. >> and nothing happens. >> you told us to wait for the mueller investigation. >> when he show o showed obstruction of justice.
>> nothing happened. >> when this president. >> took money from foreign governments. >> and blocked the release of his tax returns. >> nothing happened. >> and when his administration illegally refused to testify. >> nothing happened. >> now you tell us to wait for the next election. >> our founding fathers expected you. >> congress. >> to hold a lawless preds accountable. >> joining me now is the man funding that ad, tom steyer, foirnd of next gen climate and a movement to impeach donald trump. you and i have discussed had several times. it seems like opinion is moving in your direction. the point you and i have argued about in the past is this is not something impeachment is not something that should be done for political outcome or based on what the political outcome is but as your ad states, you believe it's a process there's congress is compelled to undergo. >>. >> absolutely. ali, this is a question of right and wrong. and there's no -- we've been saying for a year and a half,
80s important for america, it's important for the american people that this president be held to account. that's really what mr. mueller said this week. he said, i can't say he's innocent. i'm not allowed to indict him. it's up to congress to do something now. >> at this point, i've got 53 federal legislators on your side. you've got a couple people who don't share your view on this, jerry nadler is probably one of the key people in charge of vithing donald trump as the chair of the judiciary committee. was on brian layer's show on wnyc. here's what he said about it very specifically. >> again, you can't impeach the president until the people support it. and you also, you also don't want to divide the country so that half the country is bitter for the next 30 years saying we won the election, you stole it. you have to develop if it isn't there, if there is -- if there is justification which i had i there is, you then have to develop the awareness in the country and the agreement
basically before you can take the real step of an impeachment. >> so i think you would agree with the back half of his statement. i think there's justification. you have to develop the awareness which you have spent a lot doing. the beginning you cannot impeach till the people support it and you don't want to divide the country. what's your response? >> look, ali, we're a grassroots organization. we've got over 8 million people who have signed our petition saying the president should be impeached and removed from office. we think the way this should transpire is very similar to what he says that, there should be televised impeachment hearings so the american people can understand what's happened and i believe that they will be disgusted by behavior of this administration and this president. and threwal insys across party lines and across geographies that in fact, americans stand up for their values and do the right thing. so this is very, very different. from a partisan approach.
what we're saying is americans around the country across every kind of dividing line will understand and together insys that we come together and do the right thing. >> it's really logical except that second part will be impeached and removed from office. the removed from office does depend on the senate under the constitution. and we have not seen indications that members of the senate faced with the same evidence that you and i have read 438 pages of the mueller report and lots of other things, seem unmoved. >> well, i think that what is going to move them, ali is, what i just said. and that is the american people. we will believe in the intelligence, the integrity, the bravery of the american people. and i believe that when their constituents say to them remove this president or we'll remove you, that these senators will find that that is the exact thing that they've always believed was the right thing to
do and they will in fact change their minds. it will be the power of the american people itself as it should be that will determine the fate of this president. >> tom, i want to just play for you what nancy pelosi said on the jimmy kimmel show. because obviously nancy pel appeal's key to whether or not impeachment proceedings move forward. here's what she said. >> he knows it's not a good idea to be impeached. well, the silver lining for him is, then he believes that he would be exonerated by the united states senate. >> i see. >> and there is a school of thought that says if the senate acquits you, why bring up charges against him in the private sector when he's no longer president. so when we go there with our case, it's got to be ironclad. >> do you think donald trump thinks that way? do you think that he's fishing for impeachment because he feels safe in the senate. >> absolutely the opposite, ali. i think this is a panicked president who understands that he's guilty as sin and
understands that everybody in washington, d.c. believes he's more than met the criteria for impeachment. in fact, part of the urgency about getting this process going and getting rid of him is the fact that he is panicked and you can see his behavior deteriorating and i expect it will deteriorate every single day between now and november of 2020. so in fact, when you see him acting against mexico with tariffs, you can see a president who is out of control, who is panicked and who is going to be taking irrational decisions to try and move the conversation away from the fact that everybody knows he's guilty. >> tom steyer, good to talk to you as always. thank you for joining me tonight. >> ali, it's great to be here. >> coming up a shocking new report about the dictator that donald trump fell in love with. that's next. ictator that donald trump fell in love with that's next.
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we spent pretty much all day with kim jong-un who is -- he's quite a guy and quite a character and i think our relationship is very strong. i think we'll end up being very good friends with chairman kim and with north korea and i think they have tremendous potential. >> that was donald trump after his second summit with kim jong-un in february. now it's being reported "that north korea has executed its special envoy to the united states on spying charges as its
leader kim jong-un has engineered a sweeping purge of the country's top nuclear negotiators after the break down of his second summit meeting with president trump," a major south korean daily reported on friday. the envoy was executed by firing squad in march at the airfield in a suburb of pyongyang, the north korean capital, south korea's largest daily newspaper reported on friday cite aganonymous source. neither american news outlets nor north korea having confirmed the execution. that's not surprising since north korea is the most isolated country on earth. the bbc notes there have been previous reports of executions that have turned out to be untrue but it adds "the report is plausible. these key officials have been out of the public eye since the summit in february. kim jong-un is clearly angry at the outcome of his talks with donald trump and may have been looking for someone to blame. he has carried out executions in the past. in 2013, mr. kim's powerful
uncle was executed for treason. today secretary of state mike pompeo said the trump administration is investigating the report. its plausibility serves as a stark reminder about the character of president trump's potential very good friend kim jong-un. joining me now tom malnow ski of new jersey, a member of the foreign affairs complete. congressman, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> let's just -- it gets lost in the normalization of the discussion of north korea and kim jong-un that the president is not simply trying to move the needle forward on our relations with north korea but he has benefited from, he has praised, he has given kim jong-un two international stages on which to become legitimized. >> yes, he's fallen in love with kim jong-un. look, i don't know if kim killed his negotiators. i'm afraid the president of the united states has killed our negotiators. this is the problem here. back in march, the
administration imposed new sanctions on north korea. the next day, trump rescinded those sanction and the white house says said it was because he liked kim jong-un. then our negotiators tried to get a permanent freeze on missile testing in north korea. trump goes to japan, the country most threatened by north korean missiles and says that it's no big deal. that they're testing these missiles. imagine being an american diplomat today. you're negotiating with russia, with iran, with north korea, with anybody. you may not get killed by firing squad, you will be killed by a tweet. >> if you're a diplomat and folks don't say anything you say seriously because the president says something es, the president contradicted his own secretary of defense, patrick shanahan, acting skts of defense shanahan said north korea's recent missile tests are a violation of the united states united states resolutions. let me be clear, these were short range missiles. those are a violation of the
usscr. shanahan, bolton, both said that north korea was in contradiction of u.n. resolutions and the president said he didn't really think so. >> right. if you're a foreign government, why listen to the secretary of defense or secretary of state or anybody who is negotiating on our behalf? you want to get into a room with the president of the united states because you've noticed that you can flatter him into agreeing with you. maybe by attacking joe biden, for example, or just simply by praising the president. and that's dangerous. that's what's important about this. it's not just that it's disgraceful that he's in love with kim jong-un. it's that it undermines our ability to conduct diplomacy in the national interest. >> what do we make, again, there's so many things we have to draw attention to that some things that otherwise would have been headline news for days sort of follow by the wayside. the comment about joe biden, kim
jong-un insulting his iq and donald trump sort of letting that go and said that that he agrees with him. that's the kind of thing we have for decades in this country felt inappropriate that once you leave the shores of this country, you don't take your political arguments with you. >> sometimes you do, right? that rule has often been broken but i can't think of a time when an american president has quoted an evil dictator in opposition to an american like joe biden a former haven't, somebody who is respected in this country. you know, barack obama if done that, if george bush this done that, bill clinton had done that, there would have been absolutely no tolerance that have sort of behavior. it's what it says what we're willing to tolerate now that really disturbs me. we know about trump. it's what he's doing to our body politic that i worry about. >> so your perspective on the
reports of the "uss john mccain," you know, because donald trump didn't want to see it, you actually have a more serious concern about this than the idea that somebody was perhaps appeasing the president who didn't like john mccain. your concern is the idea that it's actually the military. so this is not a conference where you hide somebody's chair or hide somebody's name. this is the united states military which is not supposed to be politicized. >> exactly. so if the military is now so afraid of making the president angry that they'll hide john mccain's name, what else are they going to hide to avoid making him angry? intelligence on iran, on russia, on north korea. that is serious. that's something that you know, we can't have a servile military any more than we can have a servile department of justice. these institutions have to be above politics. they have to be willing to speak truth to power on behalf of our national interests. they be the country not a man. >> let's talk about this discussion i was just having
with tom steyer about impeachment. there does seem to be a growing push for amongst your colleagues for people who want to begin some sort of impeachment inquiry. jerry nadler, nancy pelosi and other members of leadership in the process say let's not rush to something and some with warning there may there be political consequences as there were for republicans going after bill clinton. what's your take? >> i wasn't there the even a week or two ago. i'm at a point where enough already. i've concluded that the rule of law in this country can survive bad people trying to violate it. it can't survive the recitation of good people to defend it. and at a certain point it looks like hesitationing if you know, people are being ordered not to obey lawful subpoenas. if the justice department is being turned into a political weapon against the president's enemies, if the intelligence community is being told you have
to give up secrets that are our allies have shared with us so that the attorney general can persecute the fbi. at some point, you've got to stop screaming about it, you have to speak more softly and carry a bigger stick. >> how does that discussion go amongst democrats. >> i think it's a very difficult dilemma for us because speaker pelosi is absolutely right about the senate. and you know, a lot of prosecutors won't bring a case if they don't think they can get a conviction in their jurisdiction. but again, i think at the end of the day, in the face of these kinds of offenses against the rule of law, there has to be some institutions in washington that's willing to say, there is a line that cannot be crossed because if nobody says that, there's no line. >> congressman, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, sir. >> congressman tom malnow ski. >> coming up, some legislators are admitting they're passing anti-abortion laws hoping that
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we are open! we are open! >> that was the scene outside the st. louis planned parenthood. the only abortion services provider in the state of missouri. today, the united states came the closest it has come in nearly half a century to having a united states, a state, with absolutely no access to legal abortion services. for years, the planned parenthood in st. louis, missouri, has been that state's one and only abortions service provider. that facility was set to close today after missouri's republican governor, mike parson, announced that a state audit found what he called, quote, a number of serious health concerns, end quote, at the facility. the clinic reproductive health services, planned parenthood of the st. louis region, says the audit's results were politically motivated and the state made unreasonable requests in order to try to force the clinic to close. in a ruling this afternoon, missouri's circuit court judge michael f. steltzer ruled the
clinic would be able to remain open as the case works its way through the courts. writing that such a decision was, "necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury." this ruling comes just one week after that same missouri governor signed into law a ban on all abortions in the state after eight weeks of pregnancy. the latest in a series of restrictive abortion laws around the country. on wednesday, louisiana's democratic antiabortion governor john bell edwards signed into law a similarly restrictive ban on abortions after six weeks. a period during which some women don't even know that they are pregna pregnant. this is all part of an effort by antiabortion forces around the country to push the issue to the united states supreme court to try to get the court's conservative majority to overturn the landmark precedent in roe v. wade, which cotfied the right to an abortion in the united states. earlier this evening the former head of planned parenthood,
cecile richards, joined chris hayes and issued this stark warning. >> this is not a drill, not an intellectual question. roe is at risk and the health care and wellbeing of millions of women in this country. >> there is no way of knowing how the supreme court will rule on a challenge to roe v. wade if it chooses to rule on one at all but antiabortion advocates are confident this supreme court may be willing to overturn one of the most important rulings of the last hundred years. but here's the thing to consider. regardless of where you stand on abortion, let alone the legality of it, roe was not just a landmark case for abortion rights but for american legal jurisprudence, and specifically, as it related to privacy. so what would it mean for the future of our legal system, indeed, our expectation of privacy, if roe v. wade were to fall? joining me to help answer that question is jeffrey rosen, president and ceo of the national constitution center and author of the book "the supreme
court: the personalities and rivalries that defined america" and several other books on the presidency and the court. jeff, thank you for being with us tonight. the decision in roe was based on a broader understanding of the right to privacy as outlined in the 14th amendment of the constitution. so the question i have for you tonight is, what might the unintended consequences of challenging roe because of one's belief about abortion, what could those unintended consequences be? >> well, you're absolutely right that roe is based on a floenotif privacy. it came from a case called griswold v. connecticut, recognized a married couple's right to use continue sepgscont. roe was extended in cases most notably the marriage equality case which rooted its recognition of the right of all people to marry those whom they loved and ideas of privacy, dignity, and jurisprudentially,
be. states like missouri and alabama and georgia are now going a step further, they're saying the fetus is a full constitutionally protected person from the moment of conception. and if the court in overturning roe were to agree that states have the right or even the obligation under the constitution to recognize fetal personhood, then a whole series of other laws and understandings could fall. people could be required to pay child support for unborn fetuses. it would be possible that a couple that used in vitro fertilization and destroyed an embryo in the course of doing that could be prosecuted for homicide and even more specifically, a noncitizen who is pregnant, a woman, might not be able to be deported unless her unborn pre-citizen free tus had some kind of judicial hearing. the consequences of recognizing
fetal personhood in the law has been constitutionally protected could be very, very sweeping, indeed, and that's why this strategy is so significant and really deserves our close attention. >> so i'm way in over my head at this point but i'm going to ask you about a quote from the 1974 decision, mitchell v. w.t. grant, tlafs actualhat was actu in the 1991 case planned parenthood versus casey about changing established decisions or established law based on the supreme court's makeup. the court is this. "a basic change in the law upon a ground no firmer than a change in our membership invites the popular misconception that this institution," meaning the supreme court," is little different than the two political branches of government. no misconception could do no lasting injury to this court and the system of law which is our
abiding mission to service." it was quoted in 1991. does this still hold? >> well, it's a concern of many justices, most importantly, the chief justice of the united states, john roberts. he's very concerned about institutional legitimacy. in a decision last year emphasizing the importance of precedent. he expressed concern that citizens might think of the court as political, if its decisions change based on its membership. he has embraced the same three criteria that that decision you cited, casey v. planned parenthood used in evaluating whether decisions should be overturned. first, has society come to rely on them? second, have facts changed? and third, would -- has the decision become unworkable? and those are the same considerations that he would weigh now. the conventional wisdom for better or for worse at the moment is that the chief is not eager to hear cases that would directly challenge roe. that's why just this week the court unanimously refused to consider a challenge to the heart of an indiana law that
restricted sex-selection-based abortion, so an instituti institutionally-minded chief has also persuaded justice kavanaugh in a case involving privileges of hospitals to vote against hearing the case because he does not seem at the moment to be in a rush to overturn roe. what's so significant about this debate is the states are making it harder and harder for the court to duck this question by embracing these broad claims about fetal personhood that as blackman in roe, himself, acknowledged strike at the core of the reasoning in roe v. wade. >> i got 30 seconds left. i want to ask you does the issue of whether a justice thinks a case in the past was in their opinion wrongly decided come into play here? >> yes. those three criteria apply if even they think it was widely decided as they may have done when they upheld roe v. wade, their still n they're not supposed to -- if the decision isn't unworkable,
those are the three criteria and going to be hugely important along with an overwhelming question you identified, so important, ali, of the chief justice and his concern about institutional legitimacy. >> jeffrey rosen, my pleasure to see you tonight. thank qulu fyou for quoijoining. that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts right now. tonight, donald trump on the defensive getting still more cover from his attorney general as his justice department defies a court order concerning contact with the russians. plus, as democrats debate their next move, a look at the ways congress could move forward in biuilding their case. ahead for us tonight, some perspective on an eventful week that saw robert mueller break his silence with decidedly mixed results and saw the president attack a modern day american war hero. also an update tonight on the latest mass shooting if america. the staggering death toll this evening in virginia beach, all of it as "the 11th hour" gets under way on this friday night.